About the Department

Eric Beerbohm

Eric Beerbohm

Frederick S. Danzinger Associate Professor of Government and Social Studies
Political Theory

Eric Beerbohm is Frederick S. Danzinger Associate Professor of Government and the Committee on Social Studies at Harvard University and Director of Graduate Fellowships at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. His philosophical and teaching interests include democratic theory, theories of distributive justice, and the philosophy of social science. His current book project, If Elected: The Ethics of Lawmaking and Campaigning, presents a theory for lawmakers and candidates acting in a malfunctioning legislative system. What kinds of commitments, promises, and all-out pledges can candidates make on the stump? What are the moral limits of logrolling, back-scratching, and horse-trading within institutions marked by cystic corruption? The book develops coping principles that guard lawmakers from complicity with injustice. His third project, Small Government, considers the division of labor between the public, voluntary, and private sectors. It raises agent-relative problems for distributive justice: How much must the state do itself? What can it privatize? And what can it can offload to voluntary organizations? His first book, In Our Name: The Ethics of Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2012), examines the responsibilities of citizens for the injustices of their state. A Marshall Scholar, Truman Scholar, and Mellon Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences, he received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2008, B.Phil. in Philosophy from Oxford University, and BA in Political Science and the Program in Ethics in Society from Stanford University. He was a Faculty Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics in 2008-2009. He is a recipient of the 2012 Roslyn Abramson Award, Harvard's highest award for teaching given annually to two faculty in Arts and Sciences for "excellence and sensitivity in undergraduate teaching." He is Founding Director of the Undergraduate Fellowship Program at the Safra Center for Ethics. 


    Working Papers/Under Review

    Email Address


    Office Locations

    1737 Cambridge Street, CGIS K421, Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 384-9268


    Scheduled Talks for 2014-2015:

    • Sullivan Lecture on Ethics and Government, Georgetown University, 2015
    • Keynote Speaker, Conference on Democratic Compromise, University of Copenhagen
    • Oxford University
    • London School of Economics
    • Duke University
    • Essex University
    • Washington University
    • University of Geneva
    • “The Vote Pump Argument,” American Philosophical Association Annual Meeting, Panel on Collective Inaction, December 2014

    Undergraduate Courses

    • Gov 10: Foundations of Political Theory
    • Social Studies 40: Philosophy and Methods of Social Science
    • Gov 94: Junior Tutorial on Global Justice
    • Gov 94: Egalitarianism

    Graduate Courses

    • Gov 2088: Ethical Foundations of Political Thought (with Michael Rosen)
    • Gov 3000: Safra Graduate Seminar: Theories of Law and Lawmaking

     Photo courtesy of Stephanie Mitchell/Photographer, Harvard Gazette   


    Print Friendly and PDF